No Sam For You
by John Wiswell
The break was so bad it looked like he had a second knee, bending the other way. His sneaker was propped against a knot at the base of the tree. The knot was open, as though to suck him in. Sam looked up through the tree’s tangled branches. One buzzard was still here.
It kawed. The sky was so close to dusk that all was either grey or black, but Sam could see the buzzard’s hungry eyes.
"You won't eat Sam tonight," he muttered. He had little breath left and his speech came in pants.
It flapped its broad wings and circled overhead again. It kawed, one lonely bird looking at a full course meal.
"No. Not filling your belly with old Sam."
His body spasmed and Sam hissed as the break in his leg bled anew. He hadn't the strength to sit up and stop it. His vision dimmed. The gnarled branches above seemed to close like hands.
The buzzard made one more cry, then dove.
"No Sam for you!"
The gnarled branches clamped around the bird's chest, crushing its wings. It tried to shriek, but leafless twigs filled its mouth. Sam couldn't see what the tree did to it next, but he knew what eating sounded like.
"Told you, tree. No Sam for you. Bird tastes better."